Death toll in Belgian attack rises to 4

Liege Prosecutor Danielle Reynders said Tuesday that the dead included a 15-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl, and a 75-year-old woman. Officials say at least 75 people have been wounded.

A police officer directs traffic near a bus stop around the scene of incident in Liege, Belgium, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011. Belgian news organizations are reporting that two people have been killed and at least 10 wounded Tuesday when three men attacked a crowd in the eastern Belgian city with hand grenades and gunfire. (AP Photo/ Virginia Mayo)

LIEGE, Belgium (AP) — An official says the death toll in a grenade and gun attack in the Belgian city of Liege is now four, including the attacker.

Liege Prosecutor Danielle Reynders said Tuesday that the dead included a 15-year-old boy, a 17-year-old girl, and a 75-year-old woman. Officials say at least 75 people have been wounded.

La Libre newspaper said one of the wounded is a 2-year-old girl, who is in critical condition.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

LIEGE, Belgium (AP) — A man armed with hand grenades and guns opened fire in the crowded center of a Belgian city on Tuesday, killing two people and wounding 64, an official said.

It was not immediately clear what motivated the attack in Liege city, but Interior Ministry official Peter Mertens said it did not involve terrorism. He said the assailant died, but did not say how that had happened. The daily La Meuse newspaper said the unidentified attacker killed himself.

Earlier media reports had said as many as three men had launched the midday attack, which left blood splattered across the cobblestone streets of a central square in Liege where people were doing Christmas shopping.

Footage from the scene showed people, including a large group of children, fleeing down the streets of the city center — some still carrying shopping bags. Ambulances and police vehicles descended on the area in eastern Belgium.

As police helicopters and ambulances raced to the scene, the Belgian public broadcaster VRT reported that residents were ordered stay in their homes or seek shelter in shops or public buildings.

Another broadcaster, Radio Television Belge Francophone, said all buses had been asked to leave the city center and all shops in the area were closed, some with many customers stranded inside.

A medical post was set up in the courtyard of the palace of the Prince Bishops court house at the site. Emergency medical teams were called in from as far away as the Netherlands, Mertens said.

VRT Radio spoke with Herve Taveirne from the courthouse into which he had fled to escape the gunfire.

"We were in the courthouse building and were just leaving when we saw someone toss a grenade," Taveirne said. "I grabbed a little boy ... and took him back into the courthouse. Outside the building I heard shooting ... Our lives were in danger. This man was shooting in any direction. We ran for our lives at that point."

The television channel La Une said the attack included the assailant opening fire with a Kalashnikov automatic weapon on a bus in the areas.

New reports said the attack began at about 12:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. EST) when the man lobbed several grenades at the bus shelter in Place Saint-Lambert, a busy downtown square.

The reports said witnesses reported four explosions and gun fire.

An unidentified man who was wounded in the attack told Belgium's VRT television network that "someone threw grenades and fired shots."

Valerie Schaaps, a spokeswoman for the prosecutors office in Brussels, confirmed there had been explosions and gunfire, causing injuries.

Place Saint-Lambert is a busy crossroads. Every day 1,800 buses serve the square, which leads to downtown shopping streets. The Place Saint-Lambert and the nearby Place du Marche host the Liege's annual Christmas market which consists of 200 retail cabins and attracts some 1.5 million visitors a year.

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AP correspondents Don Melvin, Gabriele Steinhauser and Robert Wielaard in Brussels contributed to this report.
Associated Press
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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